The Fall-Winter course enrolment period. Its arrival indicates the beginning of the end of the summer holiday and heralds yet another year of rigorous academic pursuits at the University of Toronto. Each year, before ACORN unbolts its gateways, each student faces a myriad of questions related to their course selection:
Which elective courses should I consider?
Which professor’s section should I choose to enrol in?
Should I drop out of UofT?
With such queries continuously floating around one’s mind, the course selection process can become inherently complex. This article will serve as a guiding tool, highlighting RSM and breadth electives with interesting content, high engagement and (most importantly) simplicity.
RSM350: Marketing Management
This course, when taught by either Luciano Volpe or Inez Blackburn, blends a case-based approach with an engaging style of teaching. A significant percentage of marks tend to be allocated through very basic participation (one question/piece of input tends to be enough per class) which, when combined with attendance points, allows for a significant cushion before getting into the main aspects of the course. The midterm/final assessments are given in the form of case analyses, allowing for a practical understanding of company management and marketing techniques. Overall, as long as you’re comfortable with 8-10 pages of weekly reading, you can’t go wrong here.
RSM482: Game Theory for Business Strategy
The main consideration regarding RSM482 is that the professor (Byung Soo Lee) promises an A- average at the beginning of the class. 20% of course marks are essentially guaranteed, simply based on a 5-7 sentence weekly discussion post, whilst the other 80% is divided between 4 assignments. Based on the class average, students are also allowed to rewrite these assignments. Last year, Professor Lee took it upon himself to individually coach students regarding their mistakes, boosting marks if the student could prove they learnt something tangible at the end of the session. Whilst the course content cannot be classified as ‘easy’, the professor’s approach makes it very simple to succeed.
RSM466: Environmental and Social Responsibility
Certain UofT courses can sometimes be a series of complex formulas with little practical application and ineffective teaching methods, but RSM466 has remained one of the more well-delivered offerings throughout the years. In itself, the focus on corporate social responsibility and sustainability is highly relevant to modern business, allowing students to gain a theoretical foothold in a rapidly developing sector. Additionally, there is a team project that allows participants to work in teams with an organization that faces a CSR/sustainability-related challenge or opportunity. As far as real-world application goes, this course ranks as one of the top offered by the Rotman Commerce faculty.
RSM494: Technology Strategy
For anyone potentially looking to explore a business-related career in the field of technology, this course provides insights into different forms of technological innovation, as well as organizational systems that are best suited for innovation and encouraging tech-oriented learning. In regular years, the course is case-based, with 50% of potential marks coming from case analyses. Additionally, 10% of marks are allocated to a ‘learning journal’, a collection of notes, thoughts and other materials built up through the course. This course comes with a seal of approval from Saquib Mohammad, our Director of Finance. To be honest, if he can excel in it, then anyone can.
ECO314: Energy and the Environment
The advantages of taking this course are twofold. Firstly, it provides a great insight into global and domestic energy policies, as well as a basic technical overview of different forms of energy and environmental sustainability methods. Secondly, completion of this course automatically fulfils the requirement for an Environmental Economics minor, a source of greater appeal for potential employers. Whilst the course content is not necessarily simple, depending on personal interests this course can be very engaging and enriching.
ECO320: Economic Analysis of Law
No ECO elective can truly be classified as ‘easy’, but ECO320 is the best of a bad bunch. As long as the textbook is followed rather than the lecture slides, the content is not excessively difficult to grasp, and weekly quizzes provide a good foundation for consolidated learning. Additionally, the written assignment is regularly curved, with the class average being considerably higher than expected. The main draw of this course is the professor (Robert Barber), who genuinely looks out for student interests. However, proceed with caution this year, as the instructor for this course is still TBA.
ECO349: Money, Banking and Financial Markets
As with ECO314 and RSM494, this course is primarily interest-based. Anyone with a genuine passion for the topic will tend to do well, whilst those simply trying to complete their requirements will be in for a tougher time. Unlike the other courses listed so far, ECO349 generally places greater weight on examinations, with 85% of marks allocated through the midterm and final exam (usually multiple choice). The level of difficulty varies year on year, with some classes struggling whilst others shout rave reviews from the rooftops. Overall, for someone with an interest in financial markets and the banking sector, this course can be the perfect complement to RSM-based finance courses such as RSM333 and RSM336.
ENV 200: Assessing Global Change: Science and the Environment
The multiple-choice questions on the midterm for this course can often be done using common sense rather than actual understanding of the material, whilst the written assignments which constitute a majority of marks are essentially a summary of textbook chapters. Alongside either ENV221/222, ENV200 is also the foundation for an Environmental Studies Minor. Course content is easy to follow, and professors often prioritize engagement and are very open to holding conversations related to the field.
AST101: The Sun & Its Neighbours
If one was to look for the term ‘bird course’ in the dictionary, more likely than not the definition would be AST101. Long considered to be potentially the easiest Arts and Science elective, the course delves into a basic overview of our solar system and facts about the universe. Examinations are multiple-choice and can essentially be solved through common sense, whilst marks are also allocated through tutorial quizzes (poll questions) and observing projects (taking pictures of stars in the sky).
In addition to the courses mentioned, below are a few additional mentions that regularly tend to bolster students’ elective armoury. We hope that you were able to find a course or two to add to your timetable!
IMM250: The Immune System and Infectious Disease
GGR124: Cities and Urban Life
ANT253: Language and Society
HPS100: Introduction to History and Philosophy of Science and Technology